Monday, January 26, 2009

Fruit, Anyone?

There is a trend out there that I simply do not understand, and that is the practice of comparing the size of a baby growing in the womb to various fruits and vegetables. As the growth of your fetus progresses, you are cheerfully told - it's now the size of a lentil! Ooh, now it's as big as a pineapple (quite the growth spurt there)!

Now, I feel there are several flaws in this system. First, it may just be me, but it seems that comparing your growing child to something you ingest just seems wrong. The baby is already inside of you, do you have to start thinking of it as if it were something you ate? "Oops, I ate a poppy seed and over the course of forty weeks it has gone from poppy seed to blueberry to lime to squash to oh my gosh it's a baby!" Weird. But maybe that's just me.

On a more universal area of complaint, any one who has ever been through the produce section of their grocery store, regardless of whether or not they consume fruits and vegetables, knows that the size of produce varies. Sometimes greatly. There are farmers out there growing strawberries the size of your hand, and there are those little tiny wild strawberries you find that are the size of your pinky nail. I mean, we're not really talking about a standard system of measurement here.

On top of that, they have chosen some rather obscure fruits and vegetables for you to compare your fetus to. Your child is now the size of a kumquat. Who in the heck has seen a kumquat, much less eaten one? I for one don't have a clue how big or small a kumquat is? Others making the list of obscure fruits and vegetables: fig (I mean, we've all had the newtons, but have you ever actually eaten a fig?), turnip (you hear about them, but they are sort of mystical), rutabaga, jicama (I doubt I ever would have seen a jicama if it weren't for dear Shelly and the vegetable experimentations of '04), and crenshaw melon. Yes, at 36 weeks, the baby is the size of a crenshaw melon.

I talked to a friend at work about this, and he suggested that they set up this system because women have a hard time getting a visual when they hear something like "two inches" or "almost an ounce." I found that vaguely insulting, but he may be right. I suppose it's nice to get a visual, but still... could they not have chosen something a bit more appropriate, consistent, and - heck - at least commonly known to give women an idea of the size of the little person inside them? Anyone have any suggestions? We could revolutionize the whole industry of baby-measurement-comparisons.

In any case, ours is the size of a lime.

Geocache: Take 2

So, we went out for another geocache adventure on Monday. After realizing that the cache we had chosen was actually placed in someone's front yard and deciding that we didn't want to go digging through the snow with people watching from their front window, we decided to do a reprise of our first cache and see if we could actually find it this time. The coordinates were still in the GPS so off we went up the mountain again. The snow had melted quite a bit since the last time we were up there, so the trip was significantly faster and once we reached the designated spot, the cache was practically in plain sight. How could we have missed it? Oh yeah, it was covered in snow. Turns out snow is better camo than camo is.

So we found the cache, wrote in the log, replaced a keychain with a whistle, and felt extremely more satisfied than we did after finding the rusted out steel drum. Yay for geocaching during the day!

Filling out the log.

The keychain we took from the cache.

So "in plain sight" may have been a bit of an exaggeration. Can you find it?

How bout now?

Afterwards, we went for some ice cream on center street and walked to another cache, which wasn't so much a cache as a "Hey, find this cool tree using your gps." It's behind the courthouse and is apparently some sort of crazy crossbreed tree made from the parts of three different trees. Pretty cool looking huh?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our New Hobby

My awesome parents got us a GPS unit for Christmas (Ok, technically, it was James's present, but heck I am going to get almost as much enjoyment out of that thing, I tell you). Not only was it particularly useful when we needed to find our way around the unfamiliar city of Denver -

- quick story. So we were out and about shopping and Mom really wanted to stop at a Burger King, since there aren't any in Greece. So James whipped out the GPS and hastily found what we were looking for. The GPS guided us masterfully there in its lovely, male, Britishly accented voice, right about until we hit the last turn. It pronounced the street that the Burger King was on in an extremely unfathomable way, and while we were still laughing at that, it proudly announced "Arriving at Bur-jer King, on left." Anyone up for a cheese burjer? Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled program -

So, not only was it useful finding our way around Denver, it has also provided us with an entertaining hobby now that we have arrived at home. We have discovered the adventure that is geocaching. Basically, people go out and hide small trinkets and treasures in interesting, beautiful, or historical places then record the GPS coordinates on an official geocaching website. We, the brave explorers, then acquire said coordinates and go on our search for the hidden treasures, with the GPS system as our guide. Once we locate the treasure, we can take something out of it and replace it with a treasure of our own. There's also usually a logbook to record your information in, any comments you'd like to make, and what you took and replaced it with. I think it has to be the neatest thing since popsicles. We've even created our own logbook in which to record our adventures, keep photos, and perhaps collect some of the smaller treasures we find.

Another version of the activity is called letterboxing, and instead of trading treasures, you create a unique stamp specific to you and when you find the cache you stamp its logbook with your stamp, and stamp your logbook with the stamp kept in the cache. Call me silly, but it just seems like such an awesome adventure. A fun way to connect with other like-minded (some may call us crazy) people, a really great way to get out and spend time outdoors, and the whole treasurehunt aspect just makes it that much more fun. Anyway, I've babbled about this long enough. If you're curious, you can go read the wikipedia articles on geocaching and letterboxing. They are fascinating.

Here are some of the pictures from our first geocaching adventure. Unfortunately, we're not sure if we actually found the cache. Reports online said the cache might be damaged, but what we found was REALLY damaged - so maybe the real cache is still up there somewhere. The snow and the dark wasn't really conducive to a successful adventure. Once this blasted snow stops falling, we might be able to get out and do some more.

Here's what we found: a rotted out steel drum. Dubious, I must say.

Christmas Pics

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip to Colorado:
Our gift to Beck and Ainsley this year consisted of a trunk filled with various articles of dress-up clothing. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the box itself, but I did get these cute shots of the kids playing with the hats, which they decided they needed for their first post-Christmas bike ride. To keep the sun out of their eyes, you know.

Eli got these little froggy slippers and a little stuffed frog from us. And he gets to play with the dress-up box too - when he's up for it.

And here are just some random pictures of the kids, etc., opening up presents.

James got this awesome Giants hat from Cyndi - way to pick em, Cyn. He loves it!

Mom decided it would be fun to curl my hair, so I spent most of Christmas Eve with my hair in curlers. The result was quite poofy, but not entirely uncute. Here's a neat picture of me and Ainsley - her curls are natural.

Grandpa playing toss with Beck.

James made pirate swords for the kids, as well as pirate hats. Oh boy did they love that. They were running around pretending to be pirates all day after that. At one point, Beck hopped on the bed that Grandma and Grandpa were sleeping on and shouted to Ainsley, "Ains! I found us a clever ship!" Oh those clever ships...

And here's a blurry but still adorable pic of little Ains and her blue blue eyes.

Upon arriving home, I realized I did not take enough pictures of the adults or of the baby. I've got to get better about that. Doesn't help that no one wants their picture taken, though. Sigh. Well, it was a very merry Christmas.